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11 Apr 2008 14:10
President Thabo Mbeki is blatantly violating human rights, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) claimed in a document handed to Amnesty International on Friday.
The party’s chief whip, Koos van der Merwe, handed a written complaint against Mbeki and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Bridgette Mabandla to a representative of Amnesty International in Pretoria.
“I wish to urgently bring to your attention a serious case of gross violation of human rights by President Mbeki and his Minister of Justice, Ms B Mabandla MP. [It is] in fact a painful and inhuman drama of massive abuse and neglect of constitutional obligations,” Van der Merwe wrote in his complaint.
It relates to the application for the pardon of 384 prisoners, which the IFP lodged in 2003 and which the IFP claims Mbeki and Mabandla have ignored.
In its complaint to Amnesty International, it set out the various steps it has taken to force Mbeki or Mabandla to consider the pardon applications.
These include approaching the South African Human Rights Commission and the Pretoria High Court—both of which ruled in favour of the IFP.
“We have exhausted all possible means; now we are going international,” Van der Merwe said.
“We have never said that those people are entitled to pardons, but what we have maintained all along is that they have the constitutional right that their applications are to be considered,” he added.
Van der Merwe said the Constitution compels Mbeki to consider the applications, but they have been ignored.
“There is a history of four-and-a-half years that we have tried without any communication from the minister and the president; it is becoming clear to us that this is a vendetta against the IFP,” he said.
The party has asked Amnesty International to launch an international campaign to bring attention to the plight of the prisoners.
Amnesty International said it would study and consider the request.
Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, was not immediately available for comment.—Sapa
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